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Forum topic by D_Allen posted 10-30-2011 04:47 PM 847 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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495 posts in 2204 days

10-30-2011 04:47 PM

Perhaps the grain orientation is all wrong. I had trouble with some maple in this direction too.
I didn’t want to invest in a 4-jaw chuck until I had more experience. Seems I’m not doing too well.
When this was going along better I began to understand the odd orientation of the gouge when turning the inside. But, when I got closer to the outer rim…..bam!!!

-- Website is finally up and

4 replies so far

View lew's profile


11264 posts in 3176 days

#1 posted 10-30-2011 05:03 PM

Being a self taught turner, I cannot offer any professional advice. I have had good luck using a “Bowl Scraper” to refine the inside of the things I’ve made. I use the gouge to get the wall thickness to about 3/4 to 1” then use scrapers to finish the process.

Just my 2ยข


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Bluepine38's profile


3336 posts in 2506 days

#2 posted 10-30-2011 05:47 PM

I have had a few blow outs myself, and have found that I really have to concentrate on holding the gouge
firmly when bending over the lathe and to be extra careful as you move the gouge. Due to arthritis, I have
had to fudge using various Rube Goldberg tool steadying devises, but have not found one that works real
good. A way around this is to use the outboard end of the lathe and a regular outboard tool rest, or if you
have enough money buy a Nova or similar lathe that enables you to turn the inboard feed so that you can
stand directly in front of the bowl. Hopes this helps.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2418 days

#3 posted 10-30-2011 05:58 PM

The good news, a chuck would not have made any difference. Chucks are good for some things but they don’t solve all problems. They also introduce their own problems.

There are several possibilities:

There could have been some microscopic checks in the wood that had not opened up enough to see. Nothing to be done for that other than getting another piece of wood.

You flinched or the vibration of the piece caused it to wobble and the gouge dug in. Having the tool rest too far away is another issue.

You might be taking too big a cut. This is my biggest suspicion. Check the bevel on the tool. When you are turning, the bevel is your depth regulator. Dull tools or a section with a bevel that doesn’t give enough clearance or just a section on the edge that is not as sharp will make you push harder than you should.

That kind of turning has some special issues. There is not a lot of support and the wood gets weaker as it gets thinner. You will always have some grain in the weak direction. Just the nature of turning. The other issue is speed. The outer diameter is moving past the gouge at a much faster rate than at the center. Take a break and slow down the lathe as you get farther from center. Do it in sections. Then, when you are ready to take the final smooth cut over the whole piece, cut very lightly.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2204 days

#4 posted 10-31-2011 02:58 AM

Thank you all. I have calmed down now and can be a bit more objectionable.
David, you are right in thinking that I was being too aggressive with the cut. I kept getting catches and began to push harder thinking that perhaps that was what was needed. At that point I was pretty sure the piece was ruined anyway.
I have also decided that using a cheap spindle gouge as a bowl gouge was an equally bad idea.
Tomorrow I am going to order more tools…and I think I’ll get a chuck anyway. It seems that will allow me to make better use of some blanks I have around.
I just have to get back on the horse…so to speak!

-- Website is finally up and

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